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Old-fashioned Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This is the recipe I used for one of my stepmother Jeanne's last requests. I tried it again the other night with friends and my husband, adding the walnuts, and it was truly delectable. Unlike Eleanor, I used canned pineapple instead of fresh, but feel free to go the purist route!

1 20-ounce can pineapple rings in heavy syrup (reserved)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup walnut halves
A handful of fresh or frozen cherries, pitted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain the pineapple and set aside, reserving 1/4 cup syrup. In a heavy cast iron skillet or other 10" pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, stirring until melted. Add one layer of pineapple slices, letting brown slightly in butter/sugar mixture before removing from heat. Add cherries to center of rings, and place walnut halves in spaces between rings.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together. Slowly stir in oil, pineapple syrup and eggs, then beat at high speed for two minutes. Gently pour batter over pineapple rings in skillet, being careful to keep fruit and nuts in place. (There's a joke there somewhere, but I'll ignore it.)

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cake springs back from a light touch. Let skillet stand on a cooling rack for five minutes, then loosen edges with a knife or small spatula. Invert a plate or serving platter over the pan, and turn upside down. You may need to shake gently to loosen the cake, and you may need to rearrange the fruit a bit, but it's all so gooey wonderful that no one will be the wiser.

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